The Moth Wing Diaries by Lori Vrba

Let me begin by saying that

Lori Vrba

 has been my best good friend for 35 years. We've grown up together. Lived together. Had babies together.  I think some of our best growing has been over the last decade and we're not exactly spring chickens. And we're proud of that. 

It's an amazing thing to watch someone you're close to find their passion and then watch their star rise. 

Lori is a fine art photographer and mixed media artist living in Chapel Hill, NC.  She shoots with an old Hasselblad camera and makes pictures in her darkroom down in the basement of her home. It's as cool as it sounds. 

I'm beyond proud to share that her first book, The Moth Wing Diaries, has been published by Daylight Books and is

now available

Winged Victory by Lori Vrba

Rebecca's Palm by Lori Vrba

You can read one of the best interviews Lori's given on


to get a deeper understanding of where the work springs from and her process. I know you'll be inspired.

If you live in or near Chapel Hill, NC., you have two opportunities to see Lori's work. Daylight Project Space in Hillsborough will exhibit her work through May 22nd.

And the historic Horace Willliams House in Chapel Hill will open with an exhibition on April 12-26. Artists reception will be April 12, 2-4 pm. 

If you're in the Houston area, plan ahead as Lori will be exhibiting work beginning June 6 at

Catherine Courturier Gallery


Also, follow Lori on


for all the up to the minute details about shows and signings.

Congratulations dear friend! Can you believe I just blogged about your book?!

Failure to Launch

My best friend, Lori Vrba, is a fine art photographer.  She's incredibly talented, successful, fearless, driven and oh yeah, a person just like the rest of us that thinks rejection sucks.
If you're an artist or creative in a field that requires acceptance or approval to further your career and open doors for you, then you will relate to this film Lori made just this week on the heels of disappointment.: 

January Inspired Me

I am endlessly inspired by paper. Like a textile designer spreads out yards of material, I love to
have vintage paper strewn around my office floor and walls. Sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently, always enjoyed.

We talk a lot about how busy we are. However, the first few days of January were quiet, cold and provided the opportunity to play with some of the lovely gifts that were given to me from the people that know me best and to make a little art for myself. 

This is what January felt like for me:

The Bedroom

A client just moved into a new and bigger house. You know what that means...her furniture feels wrong. The scale is off and some changes have to happen for it to feel right. Her new bedroom is bigger, however, her bed is on the small side. Obstacle or opportunity?
Everyone starts at the same place; budget. From there we address scale should we address the big wall her bed is on? Buy a new poster bed, install a collection, a grid of framed art, layer some salvaged pieces?
What do you like to hang over your bed, if anything? I love architectural salvage, photography, a small painting.  I've never liked the idea of plates hung on the wall in a bedroom.. That's too much of a reminder of chores I've just done or the ones that await me in the morning. and I want my bedroom to help me forget all that.  Here's some inspiration:

                                                                        Source: Uploaded by user via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                      Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                  Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                          Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                            Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                       Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                         Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                   Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                  Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                            Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                               Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

Cool Rooms

It's so hot here in Houston our faces are melting off.  These easy breezy interiors are pretty enough to take one's mind off the triple digit temps for a while:

                                                                Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                          Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                        Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                           Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                       Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                             Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                   Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                                     Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

                                                              Source: via Curious Details on Pinterest

Love the art in the above image from The Slug and The Squirrel. It feels perfect for summer and looks like a fun and easy art project.

Framed Poster Art

Have you been to Paper Source? I'm a vintage paper junkie, so their beautiful selection of artisanal papers always inspire me to create something.  I used a 20x28 sheet of Cavallini ($3.95) wrapping paper printed with vintage butterfly specimens and a white Ribba ($24.99) frame from Ikea to whip up some quick Spring themed art that was easy on the budget:

 The paper has pretty vintage French details similar to old teaching charts. 

Here are a few more that can be found on their website:

I had a little fun with this today and moved it to the back hall so you can see the scale.  It's huge!

Heart and Soul

If you ever learned  to play piano, chances are Heart and Soul was one of the first songs you ever learned.  You pounded the chord, then learned the arpeggio, then the melody. Then you taught your best friend and played it together as one. Something about the rhythmic repetition of playing those four chords and the confidence of mastering a simple song.  Music opens you up to possibility.   Just knowing a simple song can be played a million different ways and be beautifully yours is such a gift. It applies to art and design as well.  I'm working on playing my version of Heart and Soul this weekend.  I hope you do, too.

Southern Comfort at Home

If you love beautiful art and beautiful homes...this post is for you!
I've been blessed to call Lori Vrba my best friend for over 30 years. Our friendship is one of the most profound relationships of my life.  Our love affair began waaaay back in high school, cruising through our small town in our cruddy cars, singing loud with the windows down.  Not much has changed...we just both drive better cars.  In fact, we both drive the exact same car. My husband likes to say we're two people that share the same brain.
If I were to write the story of my life, Lori would be in almost every chapter, sharing my joy, my secrets, my pain, cheering me on, supporting me, laughing with me, teaching me, inspiring me. We also share a passion for creating homes that feel  unique and very personal by living with things that do more than fill a space in our homes...they inspire us and remind us who we are and what we love. 

Lori is a fine art film photographer with her very own  dark room in her basement. She lives in  Chapel Hill, NC, where she and her husband have created a beautiful home filled with warmth, friends, art, music, kids and dogs. On my most recent trip to Chapel Hill,  I took a few pictures of some of my favorite spaces in her house to show how this artist friend of mine lives with what she loves.

Above is Lori's former dining room, now called The Girl Room.  This is where we land to knit, talk, scheme, relax. It's a beautiful and serene space with a collection of black and white photography, vintage camera's and art books.

Below is the family room with beautiful slip-covered furniture by Quatrine.

Stella, who can usually be found perched on the back pillow of the sofa. 

Lori's home has three levels. She recently remodeled the basement area which is where her kids and their friends hang out. Her darkroom  and guest room are also on the lower level.  I call this space my vacation home. These stairs lead down to the basement.
Part of the remodeling included ripping the carpet off the stairs. The original builder wood stairs were sanded, caulked and painted white. Heavenly!

The basement is set up perfectly to accommodate three busy kids and gives them their own space to relax, play and do homework.  More Quatrine furniture, soft comfy pillows, art and beautiful lighting.

One of the best take away lessons from Lori's approach to decorating is seeing how almost any piece of furniture, accessory or art could easily be moved to use in another room of the house for an easy change to freshen things up.  Smart girl.

Below is Lori's office.  Part workshop, part mad scientist's lab, command central and art gallery. This is where it all comes together.  Here's how it looks most days:

Here's how it looks a couple of weeks before the opening of her latest solo show:

These stainless tables from Ikea hold some of the tools of the trade for creating new mixed media pieces.

 True story:   Lori says to me that she's tired of the linen chairs in her office.  They had been around for years and were starting to show their age and wear. This was during the last few days of preparing for her show and she didn't have time to stop and have chairs reupholstered.   I say "You could write on them with a big fat Sharpie."   So she did.  She used one of her favorite quotes, a passage from Martha Graham:

 "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"

Lori's most recent solo show, Southern Comfort reflects her unique expression and speaks from the truest places of her heart through silver gelatlin prints, mixed media  and installation pieces .

Lori with her oldest son, Aaron, opening night.

For a real treat, I want to share Lori's artist talk from opening night.  Her ability to express herself and talk about the beautiful art she makes is so inspiring and gives you a glimpse into her life and her heart.
Click here to watch it in it's entirety.

Here's a short video I made on my ipad at the gallery opening night:

After taking some time off from blogging, she's back on the world wide web writing in her unique and honest voice on her current blog The Year of Magical Thinking.

Finally, thank you dear friend for sharing your home and your art with all of us. Much love........